MFP charter rewrite motion rejected by Thailand House of Representatives

Photo courtesy of X (Twitter) @Nikorn Chamnong

A charter rewrite motion, sponsored by the main opposition Move Forward Party (MFP), has been rejected by Thailand’s House of Representatives. The decision was influenced by concerns that the proposed changes could lead to a biased charter amendment, as explained by Nikorn Chamnong, who leads a sub-panel tasked with gathering public opinion on a constitutional amendment referendum.

The MFP intended for a public referendum to be held on the charter rewrite, which if accepted, would allow unrestricted charter amendment and an assembly of drafters elected by the public. However, there were widespread concerns that the advocated changes could overreach by altering chapters in the constitution deemed “non-negotiable,” related to the country’s indivisibility and royal prerogatives.

The MFP’s motion was rejected by the lower House on Wednesday with a vote of 262 against, 162 in favour, and six abstentions.

Nikorn attributed the rejection to the motion’s lack of clarity on how the assembly for charter redrafting would be constituted. He also noted that the motion could usher in “revised contentions of the constitution,” potentially biased towards the MFP’s contentious stances, especially those concerning the monarchy.

While acknowledging the urgency of a charter amendment, Nikorn emphasised the importance of public opinion in ensuring the inclusivity and participatory nature of the referendum’s design and charter reworking processes.

The sub-committee, according to Nikorn, is expected to complete its work by mid-December, and its findings will be presented to the main committee studying the referendum design and constitutional amendment proposals. Following this, the findings will be submitted to the cabinet by the end of the year.

Timeline for referendum

Nikorn also hinted at a timeline that suggests a referendum will likely take form in the first quarter of the coming year, reported Bangkok Post.

From October 30 to November 14, the sub-panel will be gathering opinions on the charter amendment referendum from various sources, including MPs, senators, members of different House committees, students, the public, civic groups, the media, and the business sector.

In addition, the sub-panel plans to consult with the MFP to facilitate their cooperation in designing the referendum.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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